Christiane Lambert, president of farmers' union FNSEA, said the blockades were meant to pressure the government over recent trade agreements that would allow imports of meat, sugar, and ethanol from countries "that do not respect the same conditions of production as French products".
Farmers are protesting government decisions such as authorizing the company of the energy sector Total to import palm oil from Asia to exploit a bio-refinery, which they consider an unfair competition with the French biodiesel industry.
Stephane Travert said the government will not back down on its decision to allow Total to use imported palm oil.
On Sunday evening, French farmers launched blockades of the country's 14 refineries to protest imports of low cost palm oil for manufacturing biofuel.
The farmers' protests began late Sunday and have been called for three days because "dialogue has broken down" with the government, Greffon said.
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Separately, junior minister Brune Poirson, who reports to environment minister Nicolas Hulot, said on Twitter that "France wants to stop the rise in use from one year to the other" for both palm oil and soybean oil.
Widespread fuel shortages were not expected, however, given France's network of seven refineries, 200 fuel depots, emergency fuel reserves, and the absence of sympathy action by fuel sector workers. French farmers say its growing use has added to their competitive disadvantage because of high taxes and strict environmental regulations in France. Some European lawmakers are pushing for a ban on palm oil use in biofuel, citing its effect on the environment.
The issue has caused friction with Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's two largest palm oil producers, with Malaysian officials warning of trade repercussions including in the possible purchase of French fighter jets.